The Lost: A Mace Reid K-9 Mystery by Jeffrey B Burton – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Lost by Jeffrey B Burton

Book Blurb:

The Lost is the next mystery from author Jeffrey B. Burton starring an extraordinary cadaver dog and her handler.

The Lost by Jeffrey B BurtonGlencoe, Illinois: A home invasion turned kidnapping at the mansion of billionaire financier Kenneth J. Druckman brings Mason “Mace” Reid and his cadaver dog, Vira, to this wealthy northern suburb of Chicago. Druckman was assaulted, left behind while his wife and young daughter were taken for ransom.

Brought to the scene by the FBI, Reid specializes in human remains detection, and Vira is the star of his pack of cadaver dogs he’s dubbed The Finders. After Vira finds the dead body of the mother, former supermodel Calley Kurtz, everyone is on high alert to find Druckman’s missing daughter before the five-year-old disappears forever. But the trail Vira finds on the property’s dense woodlands leads right back to Druckman himself.

With the help of Detective Kippy Gimm, Reid and Vira must race against the clock. Nothing is as it appears to be . . . and the red herrings could be lethal.

My Review:

I passed the Lassie level dog books as I got older and these days I look for working dog books. This series does the trick for HRD (human remains detection) dogs. The various abilities of dogs and their bonded relationships with their handlers hold an endless fascination for me. And Vira, the cadaver dog in this series is almost on a paranormal level with her handler, Mace Reid.

The Lost by Jeffrey B BurtonIn this series entry, a financier’s wife and daughter go missing and Mace is called in by the FBI. Vira finds the body of the mother, alright, but when everyone else is supplying theories about the little girl or who killed the mother, Vira disappears back to the mansion.

Mace lives outside of Chicago and has worked with the Chicago Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies before. His budding romantic interest is Detective Kippy Gimm. I gotta say, theirs is a unique relationship, but…whatever.

Anyway, Mace gets to work on this one, keeping most of the other dogs in his pack at bay, the GSD and Maggie May both now on permanent disability (all in the line of duty).

There are lots of twists and turns, Vira (Elvira) not getting the accolade she deserves. If only she could speak. Well, she does, but it’s still in Canine-ese and Mace isn’t quite the brainiac Vira is, although he does have his moments.

There are some well-developed personalities here, human as well as canine, each with their own signature and I enjoy the humorous aspect of Mace’s persona. The well-plotted narrative gets complex—nothing is ever simple—and the surprise in the conclusion caught me off-guard. I enjoy getting some down-low on each of the dogs, their specific roles. The race to find the little girl is truly a matter of beating the clock with themes that go beyond abduction.

It’s a fast-paced mystery, filled with the flawed Mace growing a bit with each episode. I was fortunate to begin with Book 1-The Finders and Book 2-The Keepers and have enjoyed each, although with background and flashbacks this might well be read as a standalone.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review; no bias, just my honest thoughts. This one currently on pre-order and I’m looking for Book 4.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Animal Fiction, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN: B09CNFDZ9P
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: June 28, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Jeffrey B Burton - authorThe Author: Jeffrey B. Burton was born in Long Beach, California, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received his BA in Journalism at the University of Minnesota. THE FINDERS, the first in Burton’s K-9 mystery series, came out in June of 2020 (St. Martin’s Press). THE KEEPERS, the second in his K-9 series, came out in June of 2021. And THE LOST comes out in June of 2022.

Novels in Burton’s Agent Drew Cady mystery series include: THE CHESSMAN (MacAdam/Cage, 2012; paperback Harlequin Suspense, 2015), THE LYNCHPIN (MP Publishing, 2015), and THE EULOGIST (The Permanent Press, 2017). His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines.

Jeff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, daughter, an irate Pomeranian named Lucy, and a goofball/sweetheart of a Beagle named Milo.

Visit http://www.jeffreybburton.com to see more about Jeff’s novels and short stories.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

The Night Shift by Alex Finlay – #BookReview – #policeprocedurals

The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

Book Blurb:

The Night Shift by Alex FinlayIt’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in New Jersey, four teenagers working late at the store are attacked. Only one inexplicably survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again.

Fifteen years later, more teenage employees are attacked at an ice cream store in the same town, and again only one makes it out alive.

In the aftermath of the latest crime, three lives intersect: the lone survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who’s convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller who must delve into the secrets of both nights―stirring up memories of teen love and lies―to uncover the truth about murders on the night shift.

Twisty, poignant, and redemptive, The Night Shift is a story about the legacy of trauma and how the broken can come out on the other side, and it solidifies Finlay as one of the new leading voices in the world of thrillers.

His Review:

A youthful crew works at the Blockbuster Video and the unbelievable happens. They are all slain except one, in a brutal manner. Ella Monroe is the sole survivor and has suffered from trauma amnesia for many years. She has selected a career in law enforcement and still searches her memory to recall all of the details of that night.

The Night Shift by Alex FinlayFifteen years later a similar crime occurs, so very reminiscent of that tragic night. Ella works with her fellow law enforcement team including FBI and local law enforcement. The similarities are bewildering and again three young girls have been taken from the community. The difference is that the current loss is at a Subway sandwich shop and not a video rental store.

Both crimes have occurred in the late evening on the three to eleven shift and are eerily similar, so much so that it seems the killer has revisited the community. How is this possible? All of the victims are young females with a very promising future ahead of them!

The author combines tense situations with the disbelief that comes from people in a small town doubting that any of their neighbors could do such a thing. A number of people are suspected, but the prime suspect is let out of jail on a technicality and has totally disappeared. Frantic searches lead nowhere and the family of the prime suspect is shunned by the community. The suspect’s father disappears at approximately the same time. What is going on?

CE WilliamsI applaud the author and his manipulation of the plot. A very entertaining and engaging read and a page turner. The conclusion was a twisting surprise and I expect anyone who reads this narrative will agree with me. Enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Serial Killer Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250268885
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250268884

Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): The Night Shift  [Amazon] 
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Alex Finlay - authorThe Author: Alex Finlay is the pseudonym of an author who lives in Washington, D.C. His 2021 breakout thriller, EVERY LAST FEAR, was an Indie Next pick, a LibraryReads selection, an Amazon Editor’s Best Thriller, as well as a CNN, Newsweek, E!, BuzzFeed, Business Week, Goodreads, Parade, PopSugar, and Reader’s Digest best or most anticipated thriller of the year. Alex’s work has been translated into more than a dozen languages and optioned for film and television. Learn more at https://alexfinlaybooks.com/

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

 

The Darkest Place: A Robin Lockwood Novel by Phillip Margolin – #BookReview – #legalthrillers

Book Blurb:

Defense attorney Robin Lockwood faces an unimaginable personal disaster and her greatest professional challenge in the next New York Times bestselling Phillip Margolin’s new legal thriller, The Darkest Place.

The Darkest Place by Phillip MargolinRobin Lockwood is an increasingly prominent defense attorney in the Portland community. A Yale graduate and former MMA fighter, she’s becoming known for her string of innovative and successful defense strategies. As a favor to a judge, Robin takes on the pro bono defense of a reprehensible defendant charged with even more reprehensible crimes. But what she doesn’t know—what she can’t know—is how this one decision, this one case, will wreak complete devastation on her life and plans.

As she recovers from those consequences, Robin heads home to her small town of Elk Grove and the bosom of her family. As she tries to recuperate, a unique legal challenge presents itself—Marjorie Loman, a surrogate, is accused of kidnapping the baby she carried for another couple, and assaulting that couple in the process. There’s no question that she committed these actions but that’s not the same as being guilty of the crime. As Robin works to defend her client, she learns that Marjorie Loman has been hiding under a fake identity and is facing a warrant for her arrest for another, even more serious crime. And buried within the truth may once again be unexpected, deadly consequences.

His Review:

Sequestered in a remote location in Oregon, Marjorie Loman was surprised by a knock on her door late at night. Two police officers were standing at her door. They give her the news that her husband’s body was found in an alley behind a trash can near Portland. Laughing might not have been the best response to the news!

The Darkest Place by Phillip MargolinHaving your assets tied up in probate calls for desperate measures. Surrogates were being paid around $50,000 to carry another families’ child. The nine months would cover the period waiting for the courts to release their joint properties. She will then be well set for the rest of her life. Her husband had taken most of the couple’s assets and converted them to gold bars but no one knew where the bars were hidden.

Author Margolin always writes intricate plots with some clever twists. This book is no exception. I formed a quick empathy for Marjorie and did not understand why the people in Oregon were so caustic towards her. She wants to keep the baby after a nurse lets him sleep with her the night of his birth. The subsequent psychosis that followed that error made a very gripping tale. I was not aware of the post-partum problems associated with surrogate births.

CE WilliamsThe author held my interest throughout the book and kept me intrigued as well as educated me. I suggest the book to anyone who is considering surrogacy for overcoming the inability to have their own child. The author weaves parallel plots in a gripping manner and releases a very satisfying read. 5 stars – C.E. Williams 

We’ve read two previous Robin Lockwood series novels, most recently A Matter of Life and Death, and in 2020 A Reasonable Doubt, and enjoyed both, although more so the former. We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Kidnapping Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN: B092T8M4K8
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Darkest Place [Amazon]
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Kobo

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Phillip Margolin - author
Phillip Margolin – author

The Author: I grew up in New York City and Levittown, New York. In 1965, I graduated from the American University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in government. I spent 1965 to 1967 in Liberia, West Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer, graduated from New York University School of Law in 1970 as a night student. I went nights and worked as a junior high teacher in the South Bronx to support myself. My first job following law school was a clerkship with Herbert M. Schwab, the chief judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals, and from 1972 until 1996, I was in private practice, specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels. As an appellate attorney I have appeared before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Oregon Supreme Court, and the Oregon Court of Appeals. As a trial attorney, I handled all sorts of criminal cases in state and federal court, and have represented approximately thirty people charged with homicide, several of whom faced the death penalty. I was the first Oregon attorney to use battered women’s syndrome to defend a woman accused of murdering her spouse.

Since 1996, I have been writing full-time. All of my novels have been bestsellers. Heartstone, my first novel, was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar for best original paperback mystery of 1978. My second novel, The Last Innocent Man, was made into an HBO movie. Gone, But Not Forgotten has been sold to more than twenty-five foreign publishers and was made into a miniseries starring Brooke Shields. It was also the Main Selection of the Literary Guild. After Dark was a Book of the Month Club selection. The Burning Man, my fifth novel, published in August 1996, was the Main Selection of the Literary Guild and a Reader’s Digest condensed book. My sixth novel, The Undertaker’s Widow, was published in 1998 and was a Book of the Month Club selection. Wild Justice (HarperCollins, September 2000) was a Main Selection of the Literary Guild, a selection of the Book of the Month Club, and was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. The Associate was published by HarperCollins in August 2001, and Ties that Bind was published by HarperCollins in March 2003. My tenth novel, Sleeping Beauty, was published by HarperCollins on March 23, 2004. Lost Lake was published by HarperCollins in March 2005 and was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. Proof Positive was published by HarperCollins in July 2006. Executive Privilege was published by HarperCollins in May 2008 and in 2009 was given the Spotted Owl Award for the Best Northwest Mystery. Fugitive was published by HarperCollins on June 2, 2009. Willamette Writers gave me the 2009 Distinguished Northwest Writers Award. My latest novel, Supreme Justice, was published by HarperCollins in May 2010. My next novel, Capitol Murder, will come out in April 2012.

On October 11, 2011, HarperCollins will publish Vanishing Acts, my first Young Adult novel, which I wrote with my daughter, Ami Margolin Rome. Also in October, the short story “The Case of the Purloined Paget,” which I wrote with my brother, Jerry, will be published by Random House in the anthology A Study in Sherlock.

In addition to my novels, I have published short stories and nonfiction articles in magazines and law journals. My short story “The Jailhouse Lawyer” was selected for the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 1999. The House on Pine Terrace was selected for the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 2010.

From 1996 to 2009 I was the president and chairman of the Board of Chess for Success. I am still heavily involved in the program, and returned to the board after a one-year absence in 2010. Chess for Success is a nonprofit charity that uses chess to teach study skills to elementary- and middle-school children in Title I schools . From 2007 to the present, I have been on the Board of Literary Arts, which sponsors the Oregon Book Awards, the Writers in the Schools program, and Portland Arts and Lectures.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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Silent Parade: Detective Galileo Series Book 4 by Keigo Higashino – #BookReview – #policeprocedurals

Book Blurb:

Detective Galileo, Keigo Higashino’s best loved character from The Devotion of Suspect X, returns in Silent Parade, a complex and challenging mystery—several murders, decades apart, with no solid evidence.

Silent Parade by Keigo HigashinoA popular young girl disappears without a trace, her skeletal remains discovered three years later in the ashes of a burned out house. There’s a suspect and compelling circumstantial evidence of his guilt, but no concrete proof. When he isn’t indicted, he returns to mock the girl’s family. And this isn’t the first time he’s been suspected of the murder of a young girl, nearly twenty years ago he was tried and released due to lack of evidence. Detective Chief Inspector Kusanagi of the Homicide Division of the Tokyo Police worked both cases.

The neighborhood in which the murdered girl lived is famous for an annual street festival, featuring a parade with entries from around Tokyo and Japan. During the parade, the suspected killer dies unexpectedly. His death is suspiciously convenient but the people with all the best motives have rock solid alibis. DCI Kusanagi turns once again to his college friend, Physics professor and occasional police consultant Manabu Yukawa, known as Detective Galileo, to help solve the string of impossible-to-prove murders.

His Review:

Saori Namiki is missing! She is the eldest daughter of Yutaro and Machiko Namiki. She had a beautiful voice (concert quality) and was absolutely stunning. Where could she have disappeared to? Three years later her body is discovered in a derelict house in the outskirts of a neighboring village.

Silent Parade by Keigo HigashinoThe writing is very complete and covers all of the characters in the village. Some of them have known Saori since she was a small girl. Everyone in the village felt she was a credit to her family, would go far in life, and she was a talented treasure.

Kanichi Hasunuma is a stranger to the village and is disliked by everyone. He is abrasive and obnoxious. The Namiki’s own a restaurant and put up with his bullying every day. He requires that Saori refill his tea cup each time he drinks his tea and requests demeaning service from the young lady. He has been seen more than once pinching her buttocks and then laughing or smirking at her displeasure. He is finally banned from using the restaurant, however, he continues to come around with his haughty and demeaning attitude.

The whole village suspects Hasunuma has done something to Saori but they have no proof or witnesses. She was such a happy and outgoing young lady. A potential star musical performer! The discovery of her body destroyed her parents and her boyfriend left the village searching for answers. Who would have done such a thing to such a beautiful and gentle creature?

The writer builds this story like the integral detective investigation it took to solve it. Each character in the story is proven to have a solid alibi during the commission of the crime. The novel involves rather intricate devices to dispatch people. When the corpse of Hasunuma is discovered in a closed room the plot thickens. There are very few marks on his body and yet he is dead.

This entire novel reads like a crime investigation primer. How could some of the crimes actually have been committed? I marveled at the intricacies of the various methods and thought processes utilized to complete the crimes. I recommend the book as a way to delve into the minds of Japanese detectives and criminals. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250624819
ASIN: B08R2L9Y3L
Print Length: 345 pages
Publication Date: December 14, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): Silent Parade [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
 

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Keigo Higashino - authorThe Author: Keigo Higashino (東野 圭吾) is one of the most popular and biggest selling fiction authors in Japan—as well known as James Patterson, Dean Koontz or Tom Clancy are in the USA.

Born in Osaka, he started writing novels while still working as an engineer at Nippon Denso Co. (presently DENSO). He won the Edogawa Rampo Prize, which is awarded annually to the finest mystery work, in 1985 for the novel Hōkago (After School) at age 27. Subsequently, he quit his job and started a career as a writer in Tokyo.

In 1999, he won the Mystery Writers of Japan Inc award for the novel Himitsu (The Secret), which was translated into English by Kerim Yasar and published by Vertical under the title of Naoko in 2004. In 2006, he won the 134th Naoki Prize for Yōgisha X no Kenshin. His novels had been nominated five times before winning with this novel.

The Devotion of Suspect X was the second highest selling book in all of Japan— fiction or nonfiction—the year it was published, with over 800,000 copies sold. It won the prestigious Naoki Prize for Best Novel— the Japanese equivalent of the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize. Made into a motion picture in Japan, The Devotion of Suspect X spent 4 weeks at the top of the box office and was the third highest‐grossing film of the year.

Higashino’s novels have more movie and TV series adaptations than Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum, and as many as Michael Crichton. [Goodeads]

©2021 – CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Happy Autumn Weekend to you from Rosepoint Publishing

These Silent Woods: A Novel by Kimi Cunningham Grant –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

“The thing about grace is that you don’t deserve it. You can’t earn it. You can only accept it. Or not.”

Book Blurb:

A father and daughter living in the remote Appalachian mountains must reckon with the ghosts of their past in Kimi Cunningham Grant’s These Silent Woods, a mesmerizing novel of suspense.

No electricity, no family, no connection to the outside world.

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham GrantFor eight years, Cooper and his young daughter, Finch, have lived in isolation in a remote cabin in the northern Appalachian woods. And that’s exactly the way Cooper wants it, because he’s got a lot to hide. Finch has been raised on the books filling the cabin’s shelves and the beautiful but brutal code of life in the wilderness. But she’s starting to push back against the sheltered life Cooper has created for her—and he’s still haunted by the painful truth of what it took to get them there.

The only people who know they exist are a mysterious local hermit named Scotland, and Cooper’s old friend, Jake, who visits each winter to bring them food and supplies. But this year, Jake doesn’t show up, setting off an irreversible chain of events that reveals just how precarious their situation really is. Suddenly, the boundaries of their safe haven have blurred—and when a stranger wanders into their woods, Finch’s growing obsession with her could put them all in danger. After a shocking disappearance threatens to upend the only life Finch has ever known, Cooper is forced to decide whether to keep hiding—or finally face the sins of his past.

Vividly atmospheric and masterfully tense, These Silent Woods is a poignant story of survival, sacrifice, and how far a father will go when faced with losing it all.

My Review:

Not sure how I bumbled into this one. It’s not lost on me—Finch—(in this case) the young daughter and relationship of father-daughter of classic Harper Lee fame. (And I must admit difficulty in separating the name from this narrative.) This gripping literary novel, of course, only borrows the unusual name. There is the strongly bonded connection but is otherwise quite the opposite in character and plot.

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham GrantCooper and Finch have lived in severe isolation in the Appalachian woods. Off the grid, off the track, off almost any public connection. But there are two: Jake, Cooper’s former army buddy and the owner of the cabin, and Scotland. And then two events happen almost simultaneously that will have a strong, irreversible impact on their sheltered lives. First, this is the first year in eight that Jake has not shown up with a laundry list of household essentials; groceries, supplies they cannot grow or sustain themselves. And in his stead is Jake’s sister, Marie.

And then there is the discovery of a beautiful young woman on their land next to national forestry land wielding a camera.

Scotland has always been a problem. From the beginning. Popping up at odd times, a nuisance, a pseudo-neighbor who watches, sees, and knows all about Cooper and Finch. His secret, their history. Cooper finds the man detestable while Finch loves him and is always delighted to see him. The two have a special connection.

Finch is precocious. A natural in the woods, schooled at home by her dad, she has never set foot in a store or a school. Knows only what she has gleaned from nature and the books in the cabin.

But their sanctuary is careening to an exposé and soon decisions must be made. Cooper is torn. For eight years he has protected, nurtured, and cherished his daughter and this moral choice is tearing him apart. The very essence of his teachings tested. Can he abandon all that now to continue a life that can’t be reconciled to the decision or bow to it and change possibly lose her?

Cooper made some bad decisions. He can’t afford for them to be discovered or all is lost. It’s a rather slow suspenseful building of the conundrum, a calamity of timing. Raw, emotional, tension-filled, with no apparent solution.

The author is a master storyteller, weaving her well-developed characters through Cooper’s POV, his wartime experience and trauma, the loss of Jake, his wife, the sacrifices he has made. He will NOT lose his daughter as well. Heartbreaking turmoil and beauty in the prose. The decision is made.

And then taken out of his hands.

The conclusion whips the mind around, at a loss to understand what just happened. And while I understand what did happen, I’m not totally understanding the why. Nor was it more fully explained to my satisfaction in the epilogue, which settled most loose strings (though perhaps it was enough for many readers). My mind is still reeling. Currently on pre-order. Queue up for yours!

A novel worthy of many a book club debate and one that will stick with you for some time. Most heartily recommended.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley (thank you!) that in no way influenced this review, nor could they warn of the impact. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Contemporary Literary Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250793394
ASIN: B08R2JNYLX
Print Length: 279 pages
Publication Date: November 16 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Kimi cunningham Grant - authorThe Author: Kimi Cunningham Grant is the author of two books. Silver Like Dust is a memoir chronicling her Japanese-American grandparents and their internment during World War II. Her second book, Fallen Mountains, is a literary mystery set in a small town in Pennsylvania, where fracking has just begun. Kimi is a two-time winner of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Poetry and a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship in creative nonfiction. Her poems and essays have appeared in Fathom, Literary Mama, RATTLE, Poet Lore, and Whitefish Review. She studied English at Bucknell University and Messiah College. She lives, writes, and teaches in Pennsylvania. You can find her at https://www.kimicunninghamgrant.com.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Cure for What Ales You: A Sloan Krause Mystery (Book 5) by Ellie Alexander –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

The Cure for What Ales You by Ellie AlexanderAfter a long cold winter, spring is beginning to bloom in the alpine village of Leavenworth, Washington, where craft brewer Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are putting the finishing touches on their bright and refreshing Lemon Kiss ale. They’ll be debuting their new line at the Maifest celebration, which will bring visitors from near and far to dance around the Maipole and shop at the outdoor flower markets.

Despite the festive spirit in the air, Sloan is brewing over her past. She’s spent months following leads that have turned into dead ends. But when she spots a woman who strongly resembles Marianne—a long lost contact who may be her only connection to piecing together her story—she hopes that things might be taking a turn in her favor. That hope is quickly smashed when Marianne is involved in the murder of a local housekeeper. To make matters worse, Marianne issues a dire warning that Sloan and her entire family are in danger. If Sloan can’t figure out who the killer is and what happened in her past, she won’t find any hoppy endings.

My Review:

The fifth in the Sloan Krause Mystery series, I’ve been captivated by the characters, the little town of Leavenworth WA, the incredible story of craft beers and I’ve greatly enjoyed them all.

The Cure for What Ales You by Ellie AlexanderSloan Krause is a partner in a start-up craft brewery with partner Garrett. They are excited to introduce their new spring time release, Lemon Kiss, just in time for the annual Maifest parade and the onslaught of the tourists who enjoy the quaint Bavarian-esque village in the heart of the Northern Cascades. Besides people, there will be tons of flowers, lights, German foods, music, and craft beers. Nitro’s biggest competition is Der Keller in which she also owns a small share—with the family of her soon to be ex.

Sloan is a foster child and has only had glimpses of her birth background, but in this entry to the series, an aunt makes herself known with the plea that Sloan and her extended family may be in grave danger and need to flee. A sub-plot occurs in which the body of a maid turns up that either may or may not be related to the unknown dangerous person.

The mystery curls around the development of the festival, the costumes, sights and sounds of such a picturesque village that the reader feels the need to visit in person. I’m not a beer person, but some of the recipes even sound good to me.

The series, however, fully revolves around the characters who have grown so real they are developing a need to stay in touch. Sloan has grown but is beginning to have feelings for her business partner. I’m still loving the Krause family, the mom and pop who envelope her as their own daughter, Hans (the brother-in-law), and even the soon to be ex—rooting for he and Sloan to get back together. The characters are amazing.

In the meantime, Sloan is working on who killed the hotel housekeeper, thinking there might be a link while trying to keep her son and the others safe. The aunt comes off as being a bit touched—or maybe Sloan really IS in all that danger? We are finally getting the low-down on Sloan’s background and I was having a tough time swallowing it for most of the narrative. (Still am.)

The conclusion wraps up the whodunits and once the can of worms is opened spills a lot of secrets and history. Okay. But…love the series, just not thrilled with the wrap up of this one.

I’ve read this series as well as a couple in the Bakeshop Mystery series, but keep coming back to this series, including Without a Brew, Beyond a Reasonable Stout, and The Pint of No Return. Sloan has come a long way and the prose is sweet. I suppose you could read as a standalone, but then you might wonder how she got to this point in her life and you’d be missing the build-up. Wanna take an armchair vacation? I recommend this series, currently on pre-order.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Cozy Culinary Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250781450
ASIN: B08R2KKS1Z
Print Length: 280 pages
Publication Date:  October 5, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

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Ellie Alexander - authorThe Author: ELLIE ALEXANDER is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses and breweries nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails of Southern Oregon and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. She is the author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series and the Sloan Krause Mysteries. Follow her on social media to learn more about her books, see her recipe videos, and participate in fun giveaways!

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Website: https://www.elliealexander.co/

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©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Secret Staircase: A Mystery (Victorian Village Mysteries Book 3) by Sheila Connolly – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly, The Secret Staircase is the third Victorian Village Mystery, which finds Kate Hamilton discovering a long-dead body in a hidden staircase.

The Secret Staircase by Sheila ConnollyKate Hamilton is feeling good about her plans to recreate Asheboro, Maryland as the Victorian village it once was. The town is finally on her side, and the finances are coming together.

Kate’s first goal is to renovate the Barton Mansion on the outskirts of town. Luckily, it’s been well maintained in the century since the wealthy Henry Barton lived and died there. The only substantial change she’s planning is to update the original kitchen so that it can be used to cater events in the building. But when the contractor gets started, he discovers a hidden staircase that had been walled in years earlier. And as Kate’s luck would have it, in the stairwell is a body.

After her initial shock wears off, Kate is relieved when the autopsy reveals that the man had died around 1880. Unfortunately, it also reveals that his was not a natural death—he was murdered. And serious questions remain: who was he and what was he doing there?

Kate begins a hunt to identify the man and figure out what he was doing at the Barton Mansion. But when a second body is found—this time from the present day—Kate realizes that real dangers lie in digging up the past…

His Review:

A forgotten estate on a large parcel of land has been designated a historical landmark. Kate Hamilton is a city girl who has come back to her home town of Asheboro to make a tourist attraction of the Henry and Mary Barton mansion and grounds. Local donors and the Mid-Atlantic Power Company have provided funds for the renovation and refurbishing. Overall, the “bones” of the property are sound.

The Secret Staircase by Sheila ConnollyThe property was last lived in over 110 years ago and was basically locked and abandoned. Henry Barton had left an endowment to maintain the property and the grounds. One of the town mayors absconded with the money and the property has fallen on hard times. Kate loves her hometown of Asheboro and sets out to recreate the properties grandeur and opulence. She will work on the physical property and her good friend Carroll Peterson will research the history of the property and the family that lived there.

Henry and Mary Barton were the only couple to occupy the mansion. There is little record of them in the community although Henry was a captain of industry in the town, helping to employ most of its’ residents. First a shovel company and then a lighting factory soon gave the community a robust economy. Mary and Henry were reclusive and not much is known about them. Kate and Carroll set out to change that and develop a tourist attraction to help revitalize the community.

Sheila Connolly develops her characters well and attaches mystery and drama to the story. A hidden staircase is found behind a false wall in the kitchen and the drama blossoms. A hundred plus year old mummified corpse is found inside the staircase and the mystery begins to unfold. CE Williams

This story takes you on a rollercoaster ride of historical secrets. How did the body get there and who was the victim? Can the answers be found and the mansion turned into a city attraction? Read the story and see if you are satisfied by the outcome. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. The book is set to release next Tuesday. [Note: I’ve read two other novels by this author, each in a different series: Digging Up History, and The Lost Traveller but wasn’t quite as thrilled as was the CE with this one.]

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250135907
ASIN: B0818PKLL1
Print Length: 299 pages
Publication Date: August 24, 2021Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Secret Staircase [Amazon] 
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Sheila Connolly - author
Sheila Connolly

The Author: After collecting too many degrees and exploring careers ranging from art historian to investment banker to professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly began writing in 2001, and has now published over thirty traditional mysteries, including several New York Times bestsellers.

Her series include the Orchard Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), the Museum Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The County Cork Mysteries (Crooked Lane Books), the Relatively Dead Mysteries (Beyond the Page Press), and beginning in 2018, The Victorian Village Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press.

Her first full-length, standalone ebook, Once She Knew, was published in October 2012.

Connolly has also published a variety of short stories: “Size Matters” appeared in the 2010 Level Best Anthology, Thin Ice; “Called Home,” a short prequel to the Orchard series, was published by Beyond the Page in 2011; and “Dead Letters,” an e-story featuring the main characters from the Museum series, will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in February 2012. Beyond the Page also published “The Rising of the Moon,” and another Level Best anthology includes “Kept in the Dark,” which was nominated for both an Agatha award and an Anthony award for 2013.

She is passionate about genealogy, both American and Irish, and is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She is also an Irish citizen and owns a cottage in West Cork.

She lives in a too-big Victorian in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband and three cats. Find out more about her at her website, http://www.sheilaconnolly.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams – V Williams

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